(Received 26 June 1995; accepted 11 September 1995)
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Fatal foreign body ingestion in childhood usually results in sudden and unexpected death from acute upper airway occlusion. The most common age range for such episodes is one to three years. However, a variety of different mechanisms of death due to ingested foreign bodies may occur in children, including hemorrhage, acute cardiac tamponade, arrhythmia, centrally mediated respiratory arrest and sepsis. Sudden death may follow a protracted asymptomatic period and may also be due to foreign bodies impacted in the esophagus. A review of cases has been undertaken (N = 10; age = three and one-half months to seven years; M:F = 9:1), which demonstrates the variety of lethal processes that may occur, the range of materials involved and the different anatomical sites where problems can result.
Anatomical Pathologist, University of Adelaide, North Adelaide,
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